Summary: runinng the race with endurance
Intro- prayer – open your bibles with me to;
Hebrews 12: 1-3 “ Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endure the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
This morning I want you to know--
To have endurance for this life you need to keep your eyes focused on Jesus.
I. Paul has given you a summary of the ones that came in faith before you to encourage you to continue with endurance. Listen to these people before us.
Hebrews 11:33-40 Who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight….And others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment, They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword, they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, wandering deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
By the witnesses before you! What a great summary to look at.
a.The people of faith before you will encourage you because you have nothing to endure compared to them.
b.It is light stuff, you have, compared to the cloud of witness you have before you.
You have never fought a lion, right?
You have never went around in goatskin?
You have never been stoned (and not that kind) with rocks!
Ya but preacher I have had my two sons commit suicide.
Ya but preacher I have been beaten by my father
Ya but preacher I have been left by my wife for someone else
Ya but preacher I have lived with my drunken husband
c. If any of those or others are true, Then you have seen part of the race we have to run. The burdens we have.
Paul says lay them aside. Leave them; don’t let them weight you down.
Illustration: Have you ever seen those weights that a runner puts on to practice with, so they build up the muscle? They wrap them around their ankles and around their waist. Then when the time comes to run the race then you take them off. What are the weights that you are carrying? God says it’s time to lay those aside. Put them away.
d. Here is the other part of the race that Paul tells us – SIN
1. The heaviest of all weights, these are specific encumbrances or hindrances.
2.These are the sin that entrap, snare, and capture you. The word Paul uses means to surround you. Picture Paul was trying to paint was one ---
. Like someone trying to run out to the mailbox with their bathrobe or house coat on that wraps around your legs. Woman trying to run with a long dress on.--
What sins? We don’t sin, right, after all we are Christians. That’s not what Paul’s telling us. John says, we do too. In 1Jn. 1:8-10 If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
3. The sin that stops you from running the race needs to go out of here and out of your life. There may be habits, pleasures, selfish desires, or things which hold you back from God. You have to shed them like an athlete would shed their warm up suit.
4. When you have done that you can run with endurance the race set before you.
Illustration: Bob Wieland finally crossed the finish line on Thursday, November 6, 1986, the New York City Marathon’s 19,413th and final finisher . . . and the first to run a marathon with his arms instead of his legs! Wieland is a 40-year old Californian whose legs were blown off in a Vietnam battlefield 17 years ago. He recorded what race officials said was the slowest time in marathon history: four days, two hours, 48 minutes, 17 seconds. But he was greeted like a champion by race director Fred Lebow, who had written Wieland off as a dropout. When he finished, Wieland shouted, "We love New York!" and repeatedly pumped his arms in the air. He claimed his finisher’s medal and explained why he did it: "For the same reason as 20,000 other people. It’s the greatest marathon in the country." He also cited three specific reasons: to show his born-again Christian faith; to test his conditioning and to promote the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, of which he is a member.